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NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly have offered the League's reaction to rampant speculation that the Atlanta Thrashers are nearing a relocation to Winnipeg.

At the Atlanta Hawks' playoff game with the Chicago Bulls on Thursday night, Atlanta Spirit owner Bruce Levenson had his say with a reporter from WXIA. And if you wanted to know how dire things are for the Thrashers, check out his message to the fans:

"If you know anybody who is interested, have them get in touch with us." Oh, that's a bit cloudy. The full transcript is here.

According to the Atlanta Business Journal, WXIA has cited an undisclosed source that the team could be sold as early as this weekend. Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes that a deal with True North Sports and Entertainment of Winnipeg is "unlikely" to get done this weekend, but adds:

There is also no timetable on the possible completion of a deal with True North. It is also not known if such an agreement could be reached in time for next season. The structure for a deal could be in place as True North had first hoped to acquire the Phoenix Coyotes, owned by the NHL, until a resolution was reached to kept the team in Arizona for another season earlier this week. The Glendale City Council voted to pay $25 million to the NHL for operating expenses to keep the team at least for next season.

NHL bylaws require that an owner seeking to relocate a team submit a written application to the commissioner by Jan. 1 of the year preceding the proposed move — "unless a majority of the [clubs] consents to a later filing date." That clause and caveat leave open the question of whether a move, if a deal is reached, would be for the 2011-12 or 2012-13 season.

Well, at the very least, we hope someone tells the Carolina Hurricanes when all this stuff is settled, because they're planning on facing the Thrash on Sept. 25.

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